Last year I had the pleasure to fly back to my home country (Brazil) and stay there for a few months visiting collections around the country and in the field. My colleague Alessandro Giupponi and I went for half a month trip to Manaus (Amazonas) and Porto Velho (Rondônia) to look after arachnids in natural history collections and in the middle of the jungle. We went there in March, close to the end of the rainy season, when the moist in the forest is very high and the arachnids are abundant.
Our first stop was at the National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA, acronym in Portuguese), where we explored the collection in search for specimens of Amblypygi and Schizomida. There we could also hang out with other researchers, including another arachnologist that was there visiting the collection (Gustavo Ruiz, specialist in jumping spiders). After a successful stay inside the walls of that great place, we were eager to go to the forest and see the animals in their natural habitat.
Our destination was the Adolpho Ducke Florestal Reserve, where we stayed for whole day and night (unfortunately only one day and night as we had limited time in Manaus). We were delighted by the huge diversity of the forest, that was stunning even with rain that drove most of the species to their shelter. Even so, we stumbled in tons of scorpions (mainly Brotheas amazonicus Lourenço, 1988), spiders (mostly Ancylometes rufus (Walckenaer, 1837)) and harvestmen (almost always Protimesius longipalpis (Roewer, 1943)). We also found our preferred animals (whip spiders and shorttailed whipscorpion) under fallen tree bark and stones, which was quite exciting.
After this tiring day in Manaus, we headed to my home town Porto Velho, in Rondônia. There we stayed more time (5 days) as we had good logistics (my parents’ home for accommodation ;-) and a local university with good contacts to show the hot spots in the field). There, we went to four different localities and could explore different types of environments, such as primary forest, secondary forest, urban areas and caves. I also had the chance to give a talk about my PhD project to bachelor student of the Faculdade São Lucas and discuss interesting topics on biogeography and diversification in the Amazon, guided by the professors Saymon Albuquerque and Flavio Terassini.
If interested, there are some pictures of the expedition in this LINK.